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What do quintessential Somali politicians and violent extremist groups have in common?

by Sharmake Farah
Saturday, December 9, 2017

I know it might seem bit odd, absurd and hyperbole, to some of you, to suggest that the typical Somali politician’s behaviour borders with that of violent extremist groups. Distinctions between them is that the latter’s primary objective, is to impose its perverted interpretation brand of Islam through violence across the entire country if not the entire region whereas the former’s goal is to hold the whole country hostage through sustained political subversions, which often come in the form of motions of no confidence against incumbent government until they realise their venal political ends.

In this context, I argue that quintessential Somali politicians, especially some of the current crops of MPs, appear that they are in collusion course, and to that effect have in common interest with violent extremist groups in preventing Somalia from ever realising any semblance of peace and normalcy. This is not surprising though: partial diagnosis to ascertain the current state of affairs has found that some members of the political class who are now agitating for change either at the floor of the house of parliament or outside the parliament are suffering a rare kind of syndrome known as “Relevance Deprivation Syndrome,” which strikes persons in higher positions of influence when they fall from grace and find very difficult to come to terms with it. To be fair however, there are some exceptions and not all of whom fall into that category.

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Setting aside the above synopsis, and adding yet another cursory analysis indicating that the functions of the legislative body has lately lost touch and focus with pressing needs, and has been geared towards solely in political point-scoring and unnecessary disruptions, in which if current trends are sustained, run the risk at reversing all the progress that has been made over the past eight months. Federal lawmakers, instead of scrutinising and legislating policies, holding the government to account, advancing constructively the interest of their local constituencies, and among others, proved incognizant of their core responsibilities.

Members of Parliament, through the use or more aptly abuse of their authority, blindly pursue their self-interests to a point where they became undisturbed from the impact of their political machinations having on ordinary civilians. Proving their true colours and business trademark at which is too often demonstrated through senseless motions of no confidence against a perfectly functioning government: a government for which continues to improve in great deal the security situation, delivers vital social services, and with limited resources, carries out massive infrastructure projects to create jobs for the young people. Not only does Nabad and Nolol government deserves to be lauded for its tremendous achievements, especially in terms of delivering political stability and good governance, over a short period of time, but it should be critically and constructively scrutinised to speed up progress.

Holding government to account not only helps improve policy delivery but also strengthens democratic institutions. So, rather than focusing on this important issue, some MPs are engaged in zero-sum-game with which its sole aim is to disrupt and derail government efforts: among which is to defeat terrorism; to combat against corruption; to inculcate good governance within the nascent political system; to reconcile between estranged local communities in order to foster social cohesion; and to place the country on a path to sustainable development. Apparently, the Somali people expect from their local MPs to join hand in hand with the federal government's efforts aimed to break the cycle of violence and poverty, which engulfed the country over the past three decades. Or else come 2021 general elections and face defeat!

On the contrary however, quintessential Somali politicians seem that they are now hand in gloves with violent extremist groups in their endeavours to prevent Somalia from ever having a functioning government, and any semblance of peace and normalcy. This is unacceptable. And in response, Farmaajo and Khayre government, knowing that the public support is on their side, should stare down at these spoilers and deal with their subversions with sheer force and fortitude, and subject them with the full force of the law.

We can no longer accept having in our parliament, individuals who are openly serving for foreign countries and entities at the expense of our sovereignty. Let’s call spade a spade: we cannot accept Senator Omar Abirishid to remain in the Upper House while his allegiance lies elsewhere. Nor can we entertain Hon Mahad Salad's tantrum and Hon Ahmed Fiqi’s motley collection of misfits to enjoy parliamentary immunity while they both continue to incite violence and crimes against humanity especially, the latter, Fiqi has called recently rehash of the 1991 civil war: a war, which killed over half-million people and displaced around another three-million.

It has become abundantly clear that these tainted individuals bear resemblance with violent extremist groups in harbouring deep hatred at any semblance of peace and normalcy, largely because their business model thrives in chaos and anarchy from which they deeply believe would reap them massive amount of REWARDS albeit out of the misery of innocent civilians. One case to demonstrate it is that the fruits of their political subversions, have given Al Shabab a window of opportunity to carry out the deadly 14 October terrorist attack at Zobe Junction and the subsequent Nasa Hablood Hotel attack, which left five-hundred people dead and another seven-hundred wounded. In this sense, the responsibility of this colossal loss of lives can be laid squarely at the feet of these spoilers.

Not only do these spoilers brag openly about their subversive strategies at media outlets but seem indifferent to the far-reaching implications having it at ordinary civilians reeling from well over two decades of civil wars. While we are at war with violent extremist groups, we seem unable to concur on how to deal with these saboteurs whose sole objective is to hold Somalia hostage, and keep its people under persistent mayhem and misery until they realise their venal political ends. Worse still is that, their bad behaviour often gets rewarded with either ministerial portfolios or diplomatic posts, and at times, with hefty amount of largesse by local oligarchies, foreign governments and entities and of course the federal government.

Sadly, while the underlying motive of this hotchpotch collection of stakeholders differ, the end result remains the same, and is to maintain the status quo. Chiefly among these stakeholders include but not limited to: fat cats in the Gulf countries for which continue to inject large sums of money to their proxies serving in the parliament to destabilise the country, and ensure that their awful interests are advanced and fully protected; local oligarchies who have amassed ill-wealth over the past two decades are also anathema to peace, and tend to intervene in any political squabbles at all levels of government to protect their ill-gotten wealth, and attempt to reverse, undo and postpone any government initiative that would impact at their businesses’ windfalls; so too is the so-called international community representatives based in Mogadishu who wish to increase their role and sustain their presence in the country in years if not decades to come; and of course, the Federal Government, which feels compelled to divert necessary resources that would otherwise have been used to deliver vital services to utilise it for its own survival.

In sum, I maintain my contention that quintessential Somali politicians, especially some of the current crops of MPs, appear that they are in unity ticket with violent extremist groups in preventing Somalia from ever realising any semblance of peace and normalcy: the former through political subversion whereas the latter through sustained violence!

Sharmake Farah
[email protected]

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